Congratulations! You are already – or about to become – an empty nester with your children off to college. While your children were living under your roof, as infants, toddlers, preschoolers, grade school students, and high school students, you were able to make healthcare and financial decisions for them and to have access to their medical records.
You probably think that just because your child went off to college you can continue to make all of their healthcare and financial decisions for them and have access to their medical records. THAT IS NOT TRUE!
At the age your children go to college, they are likely adults in the eyes of the law. As adults, they – and only they – can make their own financial and healthcare decisions and access their own medical records.
How would you feel if your child in college was involved in an accident at college (or even while home on break) and you could not make any medical decisions for your injured child or be provided with vital medical information from your child’s doctor because of HIPAA laws? You would be horrified, to say the least.
While you may not be able to prevent your child from being involved in an accident, you can prevent the heartache of not being able to make medical decisions or communicate with their medical providers. Before you send a child to college, put in place a properly drawn Medical Directive and Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare along with a Financial Durable Power of Attorney appointing you and your spouse as the person(s) to make decisions for them and have access to their physician and their medical records.
Don’t let your child leave for college without first calling us at (314) 966-7766 to discuss how we can make sure that you can make medical and financial decisions for them if they become legally incapacitated and be able to discuss their condition and course of treatment with their physician.